In a 2,600 word New York Times report by David Rohde on the American “Hunt… for Hearts and Minds” in Afghanistan, the role of religion gets one mention:

“As watching Afghan women wailed and recited prayers, one sergeant placed the mortar round on the teenager’s back, and another held the captured rifles in the air. A soldier snapped a souvenir photo of the Americans and their quarry.”

“Despite the polarizing policies of President Saddam Hussein, who promoted fellow Sunnis and forbade Shiites to celebrate many of their rites, a majority of Iraqi respondents choose ‘Muslim’ if given a choice of identifying themselves as Sunni, Shiite or Muslim, according to the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies, and the number saying so has risen since January.”

If only it were that simple. The Washington Post‘s Karl Vick explores the prospect of a Iraqi civil jihad in which all sides fight for Islam.

The current Iraqi legal system is “like a jungle with no rules, a hundred lions, and thousands of hyenas,” writes an Iraqi blogger at Bagdhad Burning. Her friend, “M.,” and M.’s family, were swept up in an American raid based on a faulty tip and interrogated at length. M. was released; her family remains in Iraqi prison. Bagdhad Burning and a lawyer friend try to think of a solution. The courts are a sure path to retribution from whoever turned them into the Americans; the Red Cross has a backlog of thousands in need of help. What about the press, asks Bagdhad Burning.

“[W]as I crazy?” M. wants to know. “How could she contact the press and risk the wrath of the American authorities while her mother and brothers were still imprisoned?! There were prisoners who had already gotten up to 15 years of prison for ‘acting against the coalition’… she couldn’t risk that. They would just have to be patient and do a lot of praying.”